Now, where did I put my mind?
Memory problems and what you can do about them.
“Susan, how are you?” the voice calls out.
Uh, oh. You have no idea who this woman is, but you try to bluff your way through a conversation as best you can.
“Fine, and you? Yes, the kids are doing great.”
Then you look at your watch, make a hurried excuse and run.
Hours later, it comes to you. She’s your next door neighbor.
Are you often fuzzy-headed and have gaps in your memory? Do you have trouble:
- with numerical calculations that used to be easy?
- finding the right word?
- remembering facts?
- recalling events from five years ago? Or last week?
It happens to everyone on occasion, especially as we get older. But if you’re living with a mood disorder or taking sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants, these may be the cause.
If you’re concerned about your memory or cognitive performance, visit your doctor first. If you learn that your impairment is something you’re going to have to learn to live with, try these tips for improving your memory and making your live easier.
Use memory tools
- Let calendars, lists and electronic organizers help you stay organized. There’s an app for that.
- Keep keys, cell phone, sunglasses in a basket by the door.
- Keep a list of account numbers, log-ins and passwords together in a secure place where you can access them when you need them.
Use it or lose it
- A brain that gets regular work-outs performs more effectively.
- Do word games such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles. You’ll find many online.
- Take a class to learn a new skill or explore a new interest.
An active body = an active mind
- Exercise increases blood flow to your brain and makes you feel more energetic and alert.
- Take the dog for a walk. Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
Brain food: Eat smart
- Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that protect and nourish brain cells.
- Breakfast has been shown to improve the way we think and remember.
- Folic acids, calcium, vitamins B3, B6 and B12 and essential fatty acids can improve memory and intellect.
- Some dietary supplements claim to have brain-boosting effects. Reliable information on herbs and supplements can be found here.
De-stress your life
- Simplify your life. Cut back on commitments and activities.
- Learn relaxation techniques.
- Don’t let multitasking overwhelm you.
Aetna InteliHealth and Harvard Medical School
National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health
National Center for Biotechnology Information: U.S. National Library of Medicine